By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: Sony has released its latest HD Benchmark report for the second quarter 2007 showing consumer uptake of high definition products is continuing pace with sales, increasing 99 per cent over the second quarter of 2006.

High definition products now make up around 71 per cent of the total market while non-HD sales decrease 42 per cent, according to the quarterly report, which is published in conjunction with GfK.

High definition TVs attracted almost 90 per cent of the total spend on HD products, followed by games consoles, set top boxes, camcorders, notebook PCs and DVD hardware.

According to the report, sales value of full HDTVs (1080i and 1080p) grew from the last quarter by 62.2 per cent, as year-on-year sales growth continues to significantly decline for non-HD models, down 75.9 per cent compared to last year.

Sony, which has significant global investment in LCD, noted that high definition LCD TVs outsold HD plasmas three-fold during the period.

However, this may be influenced by the fact that the LCD category generally generates a higher sales volume due to a larger range of sizes available to consumers, while plasmas are only sold in the big screen market.

In commenting on the report, Sony Australia managing director, Carl Rose, said HD is rapidly becoming the new standard for TV viewing in Australia.

“More than ever, consumers are demanding the best viewing experience possible, reflected in the fact that 93 per cent of all LCDs sold in Q2 2007 were high definition models,” he said.

“In fact, TVs are driving the sales of HD products, making up 89.1 per cent of HD sales. Importantly, full HD sales (1080+) have increased at an even faster rate, up 62.2 per cent on the previous quarter which proves Australia is rapidly becoming a high definition nation.”

GfK research project manager, Dennis Butler, who authored the report, agreed with Rose in confidently proclaiming the arrival of HD as a mainstream format. 

“When the Sony HD Benchmark report began tracking the market in Q1 2005, non-HD products were continuing to grow in sales,” noted Butler.

“This quarter has clearly demonstrated that HD is the new standard in consumer electronics, doubling in growth since Q2 2006, with non-HD models obviously in decline, dropping 42 per cent in sales value from this time last year.”

Sony also provided figures suggesting Blu-ray is dominating its rival, HDDVD, in the battle for consumer adoption as the standard which will replace DVD.

According to GfK figures, Blu-ray software titles accounted for 87.3 per cent of HD movies sold, compared to 12.7 per cent for HDDVD.

“HD continues to stake its claim as the future of home entertainment viewing,” Rose said.

“It is encouraging for consumers that local content providers, such as Channel Seven and Network Ten, are acknowledging customer needs by driving content, through plans to introduce new HD channels within the year. Coupled with the expanding selection of Blu-ray movie titles on offer, consumers now have more viewing choices than ever before and we predict that this will only continue to grow.”